In our dojo everyone, from first test to last, is required to write out a pre-test interview. We have a list of questions that have to be answered in an essay. The questions never change but as understanding and ability increase the answers will. Dan grades must also write a paper on a book, usually your choice but sensei may choose if there's one in particular he feels may help you.
- What is the most significant thing you've learned since your last test?
- What do you feel are your strongest and weakest aikido arts or skills?
- Why should you be considered for promotion?
- Have you used aikido outside the dojo? Give examples.
We also have questions as part of our actual test:
- What is aikido?
- What is shodo o seisu?
- What are the principles of aikido?
- What are the principles to Unify Mind and Body?
- What is Masakatsu agatsu?
- Explain Range of Effectiveness.
- Explain Circular Motion and how we use it.
- Explain The Spirit of Loving Protection for all Things.
Just some examples of our "mental" part. I find the pre-test interview to be very helpful in getting me to solidify a lot of the random thoughts about my training that I've got bouncing around in my head.